stirred by that Ghost

(I’m still in enough of the puppy honeymoon that I think everyone must want to see pictures of this little guy all the time…)


Yes, he is sitting on the couch in a bold moment of naughtiness. Hopefully those moments are becoming less frequent. We’ll see.

Some of the scariest blessings of the new adventure have been wrapped up in anticipation of another very cute little addition to our family. It’s still sad to think about not having a baby this spring, but my doctor assures me we have no reason to doubt this new little one is on track to join us by the middle of August. (I don’t quite believe it myself yet!)

There are still plenty of questions and fear coming with this joy. I have been thinking of this Sabbath poem from Wendell Berry quite often:

A child unborn, the coming year
Grows big within us, dangerous
And yet we hunger as we fear
For its increase: the blunted bud

To free the leaf to have its day,
The unborn to be born. The ones
Who are to come are on their way,
And though we stand in mortal good

Among our dead, we turn in doom
In joy to welcome them, stirred by
That Ghost who stirs in seed and tomb,
Who brings the stones to parenthood.

(Wendell Berry – Sabbath 1982, V, “To Mary”)


(New baby last week, growing strong at four months!)

As you do not know the way the Spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God, who makes everything. – Ecclesiastes 11:5, esv.

Please keep praying for us, but even more for others suffering under the heaviness of any sort of baby-waiting.

12 thoughts on “stirred by that Ghost

  1. This is such wonderful news! So happy for you both – er, all three of you – oops, I mean all four of you! 🙂 Wishing you the very best for next five months and beyond.

    • Thanks! I thought the anxiety would fade when the second trimester hit and I haven’t found that to be true, but I’m still overwhelmed with thankfulness for a growing baby! (Having the cute puppy like Max around is pretty fabulous as well. We might need to get a saddle so the baby can ride him…)

    • My favorite college professor got me hooked- maybe someday I can get all the Port William series read. I thought Jayber Crow was marvelous and I also love the poem “the gift of gravity.”

  2. Abby,

    Your naughty boy looks guilty . . .

    God bless you, Aaron and the beautiful baby inside.

    We love you, Aunt G and Uncle R

  3. There’s no tempering joy over this little life! We know you will love him or her as you love your first three! Sorrow; song!

    I have been thinking a lot about how birth and grief are bound together (my poetry thesis more or less takes up this topic). I’ve just come across Rilke’s Duino Elegies, which fits so well into what we were thinking with Linus’s name. You have to kind of get into the sensibility, but it’s good. Not a woman’s perspective, but a feeling one:

    Voices. Voices. Listen, my heart, as only saints have listened:

    until the gigantic call lifted them off the ground;
    yet they kept on, impossibly, kneeling and didn’t notice at all: so complete was their listening.
    Not that you could endure God’s voice–far from it.
    But listen to the voice of the wind and the ceaseless message that forms itself out of silence.
    It is murmuring toward you now from those who died young.
    Didn’t their fate, whenever you stepped into a church in Naples or Rome,
    quietly come to address you?
    Or high up, some eulogy entrusted you with a mission,
    as, last year, on the plaque in Santa Maria Formosa.
    What they want of me is that I gently remove the appearance of injustice about their death–
    which at times slightly hinders their souls from proceeding onward.
    Of course, it is strange to inhabit the earth no longer,

    to give up customs one barely had time to learn,
    not to see roses and other promising Things in terms of a human future;
    no longer to be what one was in infinitely anxious hands;
    to leave even one’s own first name behind,
    forgetting it as easily as a child abandons a broken toy.
    Strange to no longer desire one’s desires.
    Strange to see meanings that clung together once, floating away in every direction.
    And being dead is hard work and full of retrieval before one can gradually feel a trace of eternity.
    Though the living are wrong to believe in the too-sharp distinctions which
    they themselves have created.
    Angels (they say) don’t know whether it is the living they are moving among, or the dead.
    The eternal torrent whirls all ages along in it, through both realms forever,
    and their voices are drowned out in its thunderous roar.

    In the end, those who were carried off early no longer need us:

    they are weaned from earth’s sorrows and joys,
    as gently as children outgrow the soft breasts of their mothers.
    But we, who do need such great mysteries,
    we for whom grief is so often the source of our spirit’s growth–:
    could we exist without them?
    Is the legend meaningless that tells how, in the lament for Linus,
    the daring first notes of song pierced through the barren numbness;
    and then in the startled space which a youth as lovely as a god has suddenly left forever,
    the Void felt for the first time that harmony which now enraptures and comforts and helps us.
    –Rilke, The First Duino Elegy

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